Kansas City will officially open its new 1 million square foot terminal on February 28. As the largest infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history, Kansas City International’s (MCI) new $1.5 billion single terminal will be one of the most inclusive in the U.S.
With features including a sensory room, all-gender toilets with adult changing facilities and an ‘airplane simulation room’ that will allow more weary travellers, including young children, to practice getting through security and getting on aboard a real aircraft, the terminal is setting new standards for accessibility and inclusiveness for the industry.
“Over the past four years the project team has worked diligently to keep the new terminal on schedule and within budget,” said Pat Klein, aviation director. “As we near the finish line, I can’t help but thank the stakeholders who have contributed greatly and the residents of the entire region for their continued support.”
The sleek and contemporary terminal will feature $5.6 million in commissioned artwork from 28 international, regional and local artists. The new terminal aims to achieve LEED Gold certification and is designed to provide plenty of natural light, with a maximized window-to-wall ratio and the use of natural elements wherever possible. The exterior windows are designed to reduce glare and the garages are powered by solar panels.
The facility will also include an expanded parking lot with 6,100 spaces, 15 family restrooms, 10 dedicated infant feeding rooms, a family play area, indoor and outdoor pet rescue areas, meeting spaces, decks for all-glass passenger jets and more.
The modern terminal will also offer dining options unique to the region, including Stockyards Brewing, Urban Café, Bo Lings and Meat Mitch, among others. Other upgrades include live music from local musicians on stages and a connected outdoor courtyard on the arrivals level.
“We are thrilled to usher in a new era of air travel for the Kansas City community as the new terminal brings dramatic upgrades and improvements for travelers and airport employees,” said Steve Sisneros, vice president of airport affairs at Southwest Airlines .
“As the airline with the most flights out of Kansas City, we look forward to connecting travelers to the people and places that matter in their lives through the world-class facilities that will soon serve as the new gateway to the region. We appreciate the dedication and cooperation of the Kansas City Department of Aviation and Kansas City’s vision to build a terminal the city can be proud of for decades to come.”
On Tuesday, February 28, at 1:00am CST, all flights will transition from the existing “Horseshoe” terminal — largely unchanged since it was originally built in 1972 — to the new terminal.
“With thousands of global visitors arriving in KC over the next few years to experience the NFL Draft, 2026 FIFA World Cup and more, the new MCI terminal will elevate the first and last impressions of the region for travelers passing through KC Heartland,” said Tim Cowden, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City Area Development Council.
“This state-of-the-art terminal boasts inclusive spaces and extensive upgrades, which will support our continued efforts to attract new business and talent to the region.”
The new terminal has already played a role in Kansas City’s successful bid to host the 2023 NFL Draft and the region’s bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Both play into a larger effort to showcase Kansas City to the world.
The project was a team effort led by the Kansas City Department of Aviation, Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, and the Clark | Weitz | clarkson. The Build KCI project has generated up to 5,000 construction-related jobs. More than 240 Kansas City region businesses have participated in the project, with more than 130 minority- and women-owned business partners. The project was financed using 100% tax-free debt, the most cost-effective approach.
Information about the Kansas City Airport System
The Kansas City Airport System is a department of the Kansas City, Mo. corporate fund and is fully supported by airport user fees. No tax revenues from the general fund are used for the administration, promotion, operation or maintenance of the airports in the system.
About Greater Kansas City
Home to 2.5 million people, Kansas City is a vibrant metro in the heart of the United States, known as the “KC Heartland”. The KC region is a center for leading industries including technology, logistics, animal health and entrepreneurship, and is home to a renowned arts community.
About the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC)
Serving the Kansas City area of 18 counties and two states, the Kansas City Area Development Council is a non-profit economic development organization that promotes the region’s businesses and lifestyle to businesses and talent worldwide. Working closely with its two states and more than 50 partner counties and communities, the region has attracted more than 65,000 new jobs in its nearly 50-year history. KCADC also leads the efforts behind KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, TeamKC, KC Global Design and KC Heartland.
Featured image credited to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill